A new poll shows that Americans want to see Afghans who have worked with Americans granted resettlement in the United States. This confirms support across political lines for former military translators and other people trying to escape Taliban rule.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey found that 72% of Americans favor the U.S. granting refugee rights to Afghans who have worked with the U.S. and Afghan governments during the wars in Afghanistan.
Officials of refugee resettlement organizations, veterans, and other workers to get Afghan allies onto planes out of Afghanistan are encouraged by the results of the poll. A large number of Americans view giving Afghans refuge from any Taliban reprisal as a duty, and an essential coda to the almost 20-year war.
Patrick Raglow is a director of Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City and is preparing for at most 1,800 Afghan refugees.
Raglow stated that Oklahoma ranchers and farmers have donated a few acres to the Afghan families.
Raglow described the resettlement as “a continuation of that mission of those brave 13 Americans, protecting and sheltering, and bringing safety these very people.” Raglow referred to the U.S. military personnel who were killed in a suicide bomber attack on Kabul’s airport, Aug. 26, which also claimed the lives of 169 Afghans. It is a way for us to continue our mission.
Matt Zeller, a veteran of Afghanistan and founder of No One Left Behind veterans group, stated that he has seen widespread support for Afghan refugees.
Zeller said, “I don’t think there’s any more united issue than the American public had since 9/11.” Zeller is part of a civil-society effort that includes veterans, liberal suburbanites, hardcore conservatives and Democratic and Republican lawmakers, and has mobilized to help more Afghans flee Taliban-held territory.
Zeller and others are disappointed that U.S. airlifts, and subsequent private flights — which were hampered by the Taliban and U.S. bureaucracy – have only evacuated a small fraction of the Afghans who could be eligible for special immigrant visas.
A majority of Republicans and Democrats support the granting of refugee status to Afghans who have worked with the U.S. and Afghan governments in these times of political division. Only 9% of Americans are opposed.
Andrew Davis, a 62 year-old Republican and Army veteran from Galloway, Ohio, said, “We owe them it.” “It would be dangerous for them not to help us, I believe.”
The survey revealed that more people support than opposed the U.S. accepting other Afghans, provided they pass security screenings. However, less than half (42%) support this category of refugees while 26% oppose it. Additional 31% state that they are neither in favor or opposed.
57% to 27% of Republicans and more Democrats support refugee status for those who fear living under Taliban-ruled countries. Twenty percent of Democrats oppose the idea, and 23% are neither for nor against. 38% of Republicans are opposed, while 35% have neither opinion.
Davis stated that he was open to accepting ex-Afghan employees of the U.S. and Afghan governments, as well as other Afghans feeling in danger from Taliban. He stressed the importance security vetting Afghan refugees in order to eliminate security risks.
“If we are able to do that… He said that he believed we should accept them in. “It’s obvious they are at risk.”
Bill Cronin (a retired Republican from the San Francisco Bay Area, aged 74), said that he supports Afghan interpreters and other people who go out of their way for American service personnel and civilians.
He expressed dismay at the U.S.-Mexico immigration border and said that he placed former Afghan colleagues in a special category.
Cronin stated that “Those people held their neck out knowing or not knowing” they could be killed off by the Taliban. “So why wouldn’t you want to care for those people?”
Lauren Schulman, a 63 year-old Florida Democrat who works as a bookstore worker, stated that she supports the granting of special immigrant visas. She said that the fact that only a few Afghan sympathizers have escaped Taliban rule makes their plight even more compelling.
Schulman stated that Americans “have been watching them for days, weeks now — trying get out.”